Taking recognisable popular culture, be it a celebrity, cartoon or film character is a great starting point if you've never done anything like this before. A lot of the work has already been done for you and you'll have plenty of reference material online to refer to. All you need to concentrate on is approaching it from a different direction; maybe use exaggeration, scale or even combining it with other things to create something unique but recognisable.
The idea is that you still identify the character without difficulty but you own the new space it creates - 'Yosta' (taken from our massively popular Dr Whohoo edition that allowed you to give us a character to invent) shown on the right is a typical example, it mixes caricature, scale and brands but you instantly know who it is. In the same picture you can see Chewbacca mixed with the Adams Family Cousin Itt, again, it's recognisable even though it's nothing like the 8ft tall wookie.
These are probably the more straight forward to create, as you will see, they get harder as we get more random.
In the end we created over 180 new characters for our Dr Whohoo creations. It nearly killed us!
Well, you mix up familiar shared memories with others and that's how we started to create our two collections 'Lost Alice' and 'All This Over A Pair Of Shoes' our homage to Alice In Wonderland and the Wizard Of Oz. We shortlisted everything that fed into the public perception of these two classics - books, movies, merchandise and then looked at who was involved in the production and style - Disney, Tim Burton etc
We ended up with a long list of references, then looked along parallel lines of reference. The Scarecrow in Oz for example; you can have the traditional look of a turnip head with old clothes, the original Oz book description, Worzel Gummage, both in book and TV form or a stereotypical tramp look as depicted in fairy tale books. From this we distilled a combination image taking elements from all that we felt would be familiar to viewers before finally giving him a new alter-ego running him through a Tim Burton style update to bring him up to todays standards.
Each and every character had this method applied to it before turning the same attention to the landscape they would inhabit. It's a huge job, Lost Alice alone took 18 months from conception to completion.
We could write a book on the process but really the simple answer is, if you want to do this. Don't! (Only joking! We loved it!)
LIVING THINGSIn the 70's I was an avid comic reader, devouring as many as I could on my 10p pocket money and eagerly awaited the following weeks crazy tome of childhood delights because comics in the 70's were mental. One UK artist however stood head and shoulders above all the others because they were so incredibly different in a very British way. That artist was Ken Reid.
Oddball creations bouncing off their own cult followings, another creative curveball in which you try to provide a new angle of imagery without annoying people on the way. You can probably see the two references for these quite easily, the Beatles Yellow Submarine and Classic Universal Monsters. It doesn't mean to say they are without complications though. Cult followers are a little like trainspotters in the nicest possible way, they notice each and every detail and if you have them wrong, just like pointing out an incorrect rivet placement on the 10:42 to Crewe they will indeed tell you.